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Daniel Harrwitz vs Paul Morphy
Morphy - Harrwitz (1858), Paris FRA, rd 1, Sep-07
Queen's Gambit Declined: Harrwitz Attack (D35)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-28-03  ughaibu: Unlilke most of the games, here his opponent takes it seriously. Morphy doesn't have anything revolutionary or 50 years ahead of the time to help him, he just dithers about until he loses.
Jul-06-03  morphynoman2: 14... Kh8?; 14...Bf6 (Morphy); 14... Nxc3 15. bxc3 Rc8 (Maroczi)
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I think the Morphy gave this one up too quickly. This endgame is no picnic,especially with a rook pawn. It is probably won,but a long fight should loom ahead.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Kevin86> I do not think that Morphy expected to draw this type of ending against Harrwitz as it is basically a technical win e.g:

<55.Rh5> Rd8 56.Kxh3 Kg7 57.Rf5 Kg6 58.Kg4 Rd4+ 59.Rf4 Rd1 60.h4 etc

Sep-01-04  CivilChess: This was a world championship match game!
Sep-01-04  SBC: According to Philip Sergeant:

"Morphy afterwards said this [14...Kh8] lost him the game, and that 14...B-B3 [14...Bf6] was correct. Maroczy prefers 14...Kt xKt; 15 P x Kt, R-B1. [14...Nxc3, 15. bxc3 Rc8]"

"The intention of K-R1 had been to allow 15...P-B4. But black discovers that he still cannont make the move [after move 15]

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: <Chessical> Maybe it was out of sportsmanship that Morphy resigned-as he often gave more odds than necessary and often lost those games.
Sep-02-04  SBC: A few things.

First, <CivilChess> <This was a world championship match game!>

I don't think this could be considered a world champion match game.

Second,<kevin86> <Maybe it was out of sportsmanship that Morphy resigned-as he often gave more odds than necessary and often lost those games.>

Morphy generally won his odds games


This was the first match game vs. Harrwitz. Morphy lost the first two games and except for a single draw, attributed to a slip, Morphy won all the rest. Edge believed that Morphy lost the first two games because he had just arrived in Paris and was staying out partying, as it were, until the wee hours of the morning. After the second game, Morphy started going to bed by midnight... and started his win streak.

I have my own idea about this based on a conversation Morphy had with Edge after the second game. Edge was nervous because he had convinced a lot of people to bet on Morphy and then Morphy lost the first two games, but Morphy told Edge, "How astonished all these men are going to be. Harrwitz will not win another game."

It seems an odd thing to say when so far all you've demonstrated was that he could beat you.


he hadn't beaten you.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Game 1 <SBC> Was this the game where Harrwitz took Morphy's pulse after he lost, and made a big deal of its slowness? Or was that incident after game 2?
Mar-10-05  SBC: <tamar>

-Casual game

-1st match game

the pulse incident

-2nd match game

Morphy's prediction that Harritz wouldn't win another game

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Thanks <SBC> I have been trying to discern a pattern with Harrwitz of trying to surprise Morphy. (Perhaps this was just his hyper-alert personality which extended to his quick decisions on the chessboard.)

Odd Occurences:

1. Out of town when Morphy arrives, although aware that he was due. Could be innocent, but a little at variance with the description of a man who lives for chess, and specifically chess at the Cafe de la Regence.

2. At first meeting, Harrwitz acts disinterested when Morphy challenges him to a match, which seems very odd since Edge has described the scene at the Cafe as abuzz in expectation of Morphy's arrival to challenge him.

3. Then a moment later, when Morphy shows his letdown in an aside to Edge, Harrwitz changes mood and challenges Morphy to an offhand game in front of the crowd.

4. Harrwitz is first to offer a novelty, the highly complex (if ultimately dubious) 9 Bb5+, and Morphy reacts by offering an unsound gambit, or he just overlooks the loss of a pawn.

5. After that game, Harrwitz changes mood again, and agrees to a match, but without umpires or seconds. Harrwitz may have felt he had established the initiative between them as men, as he knows Morphy wants the match so badly he cannot refuse.

6. That takes us up to this game, where Harrwitz surprised again by choosing 1 d4 instead of his more frequent 1 e4
Morphy is off-balance, and although his opening set-up is reasonable, he gets mixed up and plays 14...Kh8 leading to a dreary position for Black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Odd Occurrences (continued)

7. Harrwitz for all his tricks, played very good technique in the middle part of this game. 28 Rc5 shows good positional understanding.

8 Both players played quickly, taking only 3 1/2 hours for the whole game. Morphy did not stall or fret when he obtained a lost position, as most players of the day would have done. On the other hand, he missed drawing chances with 42...h5 when 42...Ra5 would have drawn according to GM Knaak.

9. On conclusion of the game, Harrwitz
did an unusual thing.

"After the game, Harrwitz made an insolent and impertinent gesture by approaching Morphy, taking his hand and feeling his pulse! Turning to the crowd, he shouted, "Well, this is astonishing! His pulse does not beat any faster than if he had won the game!"

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <tamar> <...On the other hand, he missed drawing chances with 42...h5 when 42...Ra5 would have drawn. > In turn, I think 42.Rc6 was a Harrwitz' error; 42.Rc4 seems to be a solid road to win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <42.Rc4 seems to be a solid road to win.> I think I see <Gypsy> but where does the King go if Black keeps checking. Or if he puts his rook on a5 and shuffles it to b5 so as not to create any pawn weaknesses? Knaak gives 42 Rb5 as winning, but does not explain the technique.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <tamar> After the forcing 42.Rc4 Ra5 43.Rd4 there are different ways the game can turn, but arrives at the same critical position. Here is one illustrative line: 43...Ra3 44.Rd3 Ra2+ 45.Kf3 Rb2 46.h3 Rb4 47.g3 Ra4 48.Ke3 Rb4 49.Rc4 Rb3+ 50.Kf4 Rb5 51.h4 Ra5 (this position, or one alike, can be reached many diferent ways) 52.h5 Rb5 (g5 or gxh5 just open penetration lines) 53.hxg6 fxg6 54.d6 Ke6 (54...Rb8 55.Rc4 and Rc7+) 55.d7 Rxe5 56.d8N+ (many ways to go) Kf6 57.Rd6+ ...

Knaak's 42.Rb5 also makes sense; he probably builds the win around Rb7+.

Mar-12-05  SBC: <tamar>

< On conclusion of the game, Harrwitz did an unusual thing.>

I'm not sure if that was an unusual thing for Harrwitz. It seems to me to have been pretty much in character.

But the purpose of this posting is to mention one factor most people either ignore or just don't think about.

Harrwitz was the house player at the Regence. I don't know his financial arrangement with the management, but it would seem that he received a nominal salary and supplemented his income teaching chess and playing for stakes. Edge mentioned that Harrwitz hedged his bets by not giving as great of odds as was warranted. So, unlike amateurs who play mostly for the gaming aspect, Harrwitz made a living at chess and the money, to him, was an important factor.

Morphy, on the other hand, didn't need money, so, while it might have been noble, it was also easy for him to say that he wanted to play for reputation or honor.

I think 295 pounds was a substantial sum. I don't know if Harrwitz backed himself or had backers, but either way, losing would sting him more than it would Morphy. So, it's understandable that Harrwitz tried, and succeeded, to gain as much advantage as possible in the pre-match negotiations. It's also understandable that he didn't want to play Morphy until he tested himself against him.

I think Harrwitz's showman-like behavior was, partially at least, another way for him to achieve an advantage by rattling his opponent. And it seems Harrwitz wasn't shy about gaining any sort of advantage (something that Edge felt made him unpopular)- in contrast to Morphy who didn't seem to want anyone to think he might need any advantages of than his skill and talent.

Anyway, I think being aware of Harrwitz's position, that maybe he literally had his house on the line, might help us understand some of his behavior.

One more thing to consider - Harrwitz wasn't a very attractive man physically. He was very short, and if I remember correctly, somewhat deformed. I do know he got sick a lot. It's possible that his caustic sense of humor, which delighted some and turned off others, had it's root in his physical characteristics. I feel he might have had a hard life and depricating humor was one of his means of coping. When he lost to Morphy, not only did he eat crow, but he lost a tidy sum of money and probably angered more than a few people who lost money in the side bets. His manners towards Morphy, as I understand it, eventually cost him his position at the Regence. It's all kind of sad really.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <SBC> <It seems to me to have been pretty much in character.>

Your descriptions of him are my own impressions. I read somewhere he had a deformity, but I have never been able to locate the source again. Hooper & Whyld wrote he was "physically unattractive, 'all heads and brains', on a tiny body"

Harrwitz' fate of being forgotten for his play and remembered for his faults may have haunted Lasker when he wrote about him in 1932 "The modern generation fails to do justice to him. He was a great player."

Lasker himself was accused of sharp practices in demanding fees, and had to supplement his income in later years by getting a bridge teaching certificate if I recall correctly. This is not said to excuse bad behavior on Harrwitz' part, but to put in perspective how precarious his job was as one of the only chess professionals on the planet, and how clever he was to keep it going while others failed.

Mar-12-05  SBC: <tamar>

When Max Lange published his book on Morphy in German, for a German audience, it was an instant success. The German chess players wanted to know more about this American phenomenon. Immediately, Faulkbeer started his translation (with additional notes and corrections) into English. The next year, when it was released in America, it was a critical and marketing failure. The reason was that the German chessplayers saw Morphy differently than the Americans did. Both populations recognized his tremendous talent, but the Germans weren't immersed in the hero-worship aspect. In fact, Lange's book was a bit jingoistic and pro-German. In his book Lange holds Morphy in deference but also in perspective and makes many valid points. The Americans, on the other hand, seemed to hold the opinion that anything other than total praise was unacceptable ... which is an equally jingoistic attitude. Of course, as usual, the truth lies somewhere in between.

But in talking of Harrwitz, it's easy to just dismiss him as an arrogant, two-bit player whom Morphy put in his place. But I feel that answers that are too easy are usually wrong. Harrwitz was a complex individual and a very talent and hard-working chess player whose career and reputation was shattered in the fall of 1858. And, when I think about how Morphy, with utter certaintly and accuracy (after losing his only 3 games againt Harrwitz), predicted that Harrwitz would never win another game, I have to wonder about Morhpy's role in this drama.

While waiting for Harrwitz to recuperate, Morphy gave his famous blindfold demonstration at La Regence. Sometime later, Harrwitz (also a noted blindfold player), imitating Morphy, also gave a blindfold demonstration at La Regence. Harrwitz didn't fare as well and it was apparent he had planted ringers who threw games. It seemed to be a pathetic attempt in restoring some credibility that back-fired.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <SBC> < I have to wonder about Morhpy's role in this drama.>

Morphy's behavior at the beginning of this match is also strange. I think he approached the match with close to near certainty that he would win, despite having little knowledge of Harrwitz.

He approached Harrwitz,"departing (as in the case of Staunton) from his usual custom, asked him to have a game." Sergeant varies the account from Edge's version that Morphy asked him for a match, but either way, Morphy showed either confidence or impatience by changing his routine.

Morphy according to Edge played the offhand game in an "excited" state, which lends credence to the theory he threw that game, or at least handicapped himself several pawns before playing at full force.

Then even more oddly, if Edge is to be believed, he stayed up late partying the nights before the first two games. What is this all about?

In any case, in Game 1 shown on this page he was clearly outplayed, and his errors were not gross or unbelievable, just errors of timing and planning. He does not mention any plan to exchange on c3 and pressuring it at move 14 which masters of the 20th century would have looked at first (14...Nxc3 15 bxc3 Rc8 Maroczy) or even better 14...Rc8 immediately (Knaak)

He does seem to have calmed down. Thanks to Harrwitz(!) we know his pulse was very slow. And he made a typical Morphy decision after a loss. Despite having found the error immediately 14...Kh8? and an improvement 14...Bf6, he discarded this opening the rest of the match.

So far so good for Morphy. He did not take losses to heart if he knew the reason. But the pulse taking incident was so rude, Morphy likely drew real offence and began to wonder what type of person he was up against. Harrwitz could not know that Morphy was very sensitive to how he carried himself, as he seems to have measured his life achievements against that of his father who had just died. This was a public humiliation.

Harrwitz got his goat, and while it paid off in a victory in the next game, Morphy the rest of the match played the best chess of his life.

My total impression of the match is Morphy started it over-confident, and even distracted. Harrwitz tricked him with openings, then angered him, but the anger prodded Morphy to raising his game up to a level Harrwitz could not hope to match.

These are just my impressions, and what really happened is still a mystery.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <sbc> <tamar> thanks for a fascinating and informative discussion. And yes, as SBC thought, 295 pounds sterling is quite a sum of money. By way of comparison, the stakes for the 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort match were $2,000, or about 410 pounds sterling.
Mar-12-05  SBC: <tamar>

<Then even more oddly, if Edge is to be believed, he stayed up late partying the nights before the first two games. What is this all about?>

I guess it depends on how one views Morphy. I'm of the opinion that chess didn't consume him, that he didn't spend much of his free time studying and analyzing or even thinking about the game. His abilities were about as natural as they could be. He hinted at this when asked if studied books and he replied that he looked at some instructional material, but the things they were trying to teach were obvious to him at a glance. So, in many ways, to Morphy chess wasn't an end but a means. His sudden popularity opened the doors of many famous, interesting and intelligent people. I think Morphy liked this mingling more than he did chess. But what took some time to sink in was the idea that fame is often a double-edged sword. If he were allowed into this special circle by virtue of his chess skill, then who are these people really interested in, Morphy the chess champion or Morphy the man? These same parties and private gathering that so enamoured him early in his chess career later became an element of his discontent.

But, as you said, Morphy was, as always, confident in the eventual outcome of any game. The idea of losing a game didn't seem to bother him in the least, possibly because he felt perfectly capable of understanding why he lost and how to have won and equally confident that he would never repeat the error again.

Mar-12-05  SBC: <keypusher>

Thanks for th info. I did some cursory looking-around and came up with this:

according to:

on the value of a pound in 1861

in 1861 - teachers earned about 93 pounds/year, surgeon, 343; Lawyer, 1600; policeman, 54; general laborer, 44; clergyman, 272; printer, 74; clerk, 248; farm worker, 36.

The exchange rate in 1859 was 4.9 dollars= 1 pound, which would make 295 pouds = $1445.50 in 1859 dollars

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Morphy's Misbehavin' Song (with apologies to Fats Waller)

Just bums to play with,
I'm not myself,
No sign of Harrwitz
And I'm worried 'bout my health,
Ain't misbehavin'
I'll take a night out on the town.

Mom, you must believe me
I don't stay out late,
Just a walk about Paris
And I'm home about eight...
Ain't misbehavin'
I just need a little fun.

My head is spinnin'
The thread is gone,
I thought I was winnin'
Then I dropped another pawn
Ain't misbehavin'
And it won't happen again!

May-22-07  jeremy24: I've read Morphy was out till 4 in the morning before his first two matches with Harrwitz courting a Ms. Charmain Shepard. He threw the first two games.
Oct-17-07  get Reti: It's interesting to see how Morphy, an attacking player, thought the queen's gambit, a positional opening, was so powerful that he decided to play the dutch later.
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